For many football fans, The Big Game Night is the biggest party of the year. While tailgating and viewing parties are usually known for the deep-fried, high-calories, carb-centric foods, the good news is that there are plenty of delicious options that will not only score big in taste, but will keep you on track for a healthy 2016 season. Here are three simple, crowd-pleasing recipes for the Big Game Night that are easy on the waistline.

Artichoke Dip

Artichokes are loaded with vitamin C and fiber, providing numerous health benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a single medium artichoke delivers 15 milligrams of vitamin C and 41% of the daily recommendation of fiber. Add to that the creamy goodness of parmesan cheese and it’s no surprise that this staple also provides a hefty dose of calcium, making artichoke dip an irresistible nutrient-rich snack.

To make this delicious chunky dip, combine one 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts (drained and chopped) with ½ cup each of light cream cheese, grated parmesan cheese and reduced-fat mayonnaise. Mix in ¾ cup part-skim shredded mozzarella, ½ teaspoon each garlic salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon each of chopped scallions and parsley. Place the mixture in a baking dish and top with ¼ cup each of parmesan and mozzarella. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Chips and Broccoli Guacamole – “Brocc-amole”

There’s no denying the health benefits of avocado which are loaded with healthy fats and vitamins. Unfortunately, it’s also loaded with calories which can add up when combined with other game-day treats. This version swaps out avocado for broccoli with amazing results. Enjoy a creamy, low-cal dip (about 1/3 the calories of traditional guacamole!) with less fat and twice the amount of protein, while taking advantage of a nutrient powerhouse.

Making “brocc-amole” is a easy. Cook 3 cups of chopped broccoli in salted water tender. Drain and add to the food processor along with 2 oz of fat free cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 chopped jalapeno, 2 tablespoons of chopped green onions, 1 tablesspoon of chopped cilantro and ¼ teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili powder.  Process until smooth and serve with chips or dippers of your choice.

Tofu Tacos

Turn up the heat with these Asian-inspired vegetarian tacos, filled with protein-packed tofu and veggies.

To make the filling, cube a block of firm tofu. Bread lightly in panko breadcrumbs and bake at 400o for 10 minutes on each side. For the sauce, combine 1 tablespoon each of Szechuan sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce and soy bean paste with ½ cup of water and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Cook over high heat for a few minutes until it begins to thicken. To assemble the tacos, add tofu, shredded carrots and cabbage, and sauce to the flour tortillas. Finish with chopped scallions for a satisfying crunch!

Avocado Fries

Packed with healthy unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, potassium and loads of antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin B-5, vitamin K, and folate, there’s no reason to leave avocados off your game-day menu. Just go easy if you’re watching calories since they are quite calorie-dense.

Here’s a different take on fries that are sure to keep your guests hovering around the snack table. To prepare, cut 2 avocados into ½ inch wedges and prepare for frying by dipping wedges in flour mixed with ¼ tablespoon kosher salt, then beaten eggs and finally panko bread crumbs. Heat up 1 ½ inch of canola oil in a saucepan and fry avocado wedges in the heated oil until golden, approximately for 30 – 60 seconds. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and season with salt and/or pepper to taste.

Sources:

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2820?fgcd=&manu=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=35&offset=&sort=&qlookup=artichoke

http://www.livestrong.com/article/471274-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-artichoke-hearts/

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/avocado-fries

http://www.livestrong.com/article/237285-what-are-the-benefits-of-eating-avocados/